The Kingdom of God is Funny Like That

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Spring is one of my top four favorite seasons. It is the time when life pokes its head out after the darkness of winter. It is also the time for pruning. We have a few plants here that require pruning – roses, apples, pears, peaches, grapes, and cherries. Though each species requires a slightly different technique, the principles are the same for all of them. Pruning is the process of removing inefficient parts from the plant, so that adequate air, sunlight, and nutrients reach the blossoms and fruit. In grapes that means removing lots of old growth. When you are done, you have produced a heap of “dead branches” and an ugly little vine. However, that vine is like a primed pump, waiting for the right moment to burst with life. It is refined, efficient and strong. It is prepared to produce fruit even in the heat of summer – especially, in the heat.
I wonder if I am willing to let the Lord of the vineyard trim away at me. Am I willing to allow Him to reduce the efforts and energies of my past into a heap of “dead branches”? Am I willing to appear ugly and cut back in the eyes of others? Am I willing for Him to shape and form me however He pleases?
The good thing about pruning is that one month later, the vine is growing explosively and preparing to bloom.  An unpruned plant is an unhealthy plant. Maybe that’s why Hebrews 12:6 tells us that God chastens those He loves. Oh, that heap of dead branches! It can be used to start more grape vines. Nothing is wasted. It all has a purpose. The Kingdom of God is funny like that.

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